In the Hands of Alchemy
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Walking Through  (12 of 19)

Walking Through is 8 feet high and about 18 inches wide and deep. The entire piece is set into an antique casket cart, which at one time folded open and was used to display occupied caskets at funerals. The casket cart has 4 wheels on the bottom for wheeling the caskets around. Often friends send things to Jerry in the mail or give him things to incorporate into in his art pieces. Gordon Barnett, a friend and fellow artist living on Vashon Island, gave the casket cart to him. Below the Casket cart are two red feet made from old wooden shoetrees. The round brass switch just above the coffin cart activates the feet so they go through a walking motion. The large, dark elongated box in the center of the piece is an old violin case called a “coffin case.” The decorative copper face and hands were added by Jerry. The coffin case was a gift that arrived in the mail one day from Michigan. A friend, Alison Heins, sent it.

The coffin case is set into a hole that was cut into the large cover of the piece. Inside the coffin case is a carved cedar figure surrounded by moss. There are rope lights hidden behind the moss that can only be seen when the lights are turned on. The figure has an abalone mouth with a copper tongue. The tongue comes out of the mouth when the main upper chamber is opened and says “Live.” Turning the “S” shaped handle on the right/front of the piece opens this chamber. The outer door of this chamber has the large face that is carved into the cedar. The face has abalone eyes with a copper spiral in the mouth. When the chamber door opens a carved cedar mask appears from behind the door. Hidden just below the mask is a molded copper hand, which comes up; waves and returns back down out of sight. Opposite the “S” shape handle on the front of the piece is a prayer wheel with prayers inside. There are also prayers stamped in to the copper on the outside. Spinning the prayer wheel sets the prayers in motion.
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